The finance minister said although the GDP grew consistently at an increasing rate in the last decade, the GDP growth rate of the current fiscal year has been revised downward at 5.2 percent due to the fall in exports and lower than expected growth in remittances as a result of long and sustained worldwide lockdowns arising from the impact of COVID- 19.

“However, in view of the post-Covid recovery, the growth rate is projected at 8.2 percent for FY 2020-21 in line with the long-term plans. We expect that inflation will be 5.4 percent during the period,” he said.

The total budget size in the current fiscal year was earlier estimated at Tk. 5,23,190 crore. In the revised budget, the expenditure was reduced by Tk. 21,613 crore, and thus revised at Tk. 5,01,577 crore.

Bearing in mind the realities at hand and planned reforms in revenue management, the government set the target of total revenue income in the fiscal year 2020-21 at Tk. 3,78,000 crore. Out of this, Tk. 3,30,000 crore will be collected through the NBR. Tax revenue from non-NBR sources has been estimated at Tk. 15,000 crore, while the non-tax revenue is estimated to be Tk. 33,000 crore, he continued.

He said the overall budget deficit has been estimated at Tk. 190,000 crore, which is 6.0 percent of GDP up from 5.0 percent in the last fiscal year. Out of the total deficit, Tk. 80,017 crore will be financed from external sources, while Tk. 1,09,983 crore from domestic sources of which Tk. 84,983 crore will come from the banking system and Tk. 25,000 crore from savings certificates and other non-bank sources.

The finance minister in his budget speech said allocation proposed for the social infrastructure sector in the proposed budget is Tk. 1,55,536 crore, which is 27.38 percent of total allocation, in which allocation for human resource sector (education, health and other related sectors) will be Tk. 1,40,222 crore.

Besides, Allocation proposed for the physical infrastructure sector will be Tk. 1,67,011 crore or 29.40 percent, in which Tk. 69,553 crore will go to overall agricultural and rural development, Tk. 61,435 crore to overall communications, and Tk. 26,758 crore to power and energy. A total Tk. 1,40,265 crore has been proposed for general services, which is 24.69 percent of the total allocation.

The finance minister proposed an amount of Taka 36,610 crore for public-private partnerships (PPP), financial assistance to different industries, subsidies and equity investments in nationalized corporations, banks, and financial institutions, which is 6.45 percent of the total allocation.

As per the ministry and division wise allocation, the Local Government Division received a proposed budgetary allocation of Taka 36,103 crore, followed by Taka 22,883 crore to the Health Services Division alongside Taka 6,362 crore to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Taka 29,442 crore to the Road Transport and Highways Division, Taka 24,853 crore to the Power Division, Taka 15,442 crore to the Ministry of Agriculture, Taka 33,118 crore to Secondary and Higher Education Division, Taka 24,937 crore to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Taka 34,842 crore to the Ministry of Defense.

Terming the year 2020 as very important in national life, Kamal said the Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengali of all times, is being celebrated this year.

But, he said, most of the programmes scheduled to celebrate the Mujib-Borsho have been rearranged to avoid mass gathering during this COVID-19 pandemic and instead being organised through digital means. The celebration will continue up to 17th March 2021.

Amidst this unprecedented global crisis of COVID-19, he said, Prime Minister has announced a number of stimulus packages totaling over Tk. 1 lakh crore to stand by the poor and helpless people, keep the momentum in economic activities, and bring back the trend in growth and development.

“These are akin to the bold steps she took to save the country during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and the Global Recession in 2009. The fiscal and financial packages announced by the hon’ble Prime Minister are equivalent to 3.7 percent of GDP, which is the largest in the South Asia region,” he said.

The finance minister said since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has taken various steps to combat its fallout. “We have taken a comprehensive plan to overcome the possible negative impacts of pandemic on our economy and people. Under this plan, we have taken measures that were necessary in the immediate term and we are implementing some in medium term. We have also taken up a range of initiatives that will be implemented in longer term to achieve full economic recovery.”

He said in light of the comprehensive plan and strategies described above, the government has declared a number of stimulus packages to support the emergency healthcare services, to protect jobs and to achieve smooth economic recovery. The economic recovery packages declared so far has totaled Tk. 1,03,117 crore.

MORE/ASG/GM/GA/1715 hrs